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Aspirus says farewell to Dr. Pogliano after 35 wonderful years

Some people lead. And some people lead by example. That’s exactly how Dr. Christopher Pogliano is most thought of by his family, friends and colleagues at Aspirus Ironwood Hospital and Clinics.

Bittersweetly, Dr. Pogliano has retired from Aspirus after 35 wonderful years practicing medicine in his hometown. He cared for people in so many ways as a family physician, geriatrician and chief medical officer.

“I’ll miss the people the most,” he said. “I was raised to care for people my entire life and that’s why I went into medicine. I hope I have left behind a legacy my family and community is proud of. That’s what matters the most – knowing I could have a part in making sure everyone is taken care of in the best ways possible.”

If you talk to Dr. Pogliano about his career, he is very modest and humble. He’s given so much to the community by educating young medical students, inspiring change and building connections with the best health care system he knew the community needed.
“He has dedicated himself passionately to long-term learning and academic excellence,” said Franklin A. Villaneuva, MD. “He has led by example and inspired other clinicians to maintain excellence as our standard.”

Dr. Pogliano’s practice experience is all-encompassing – from a simple hangnail to an end-of-life discussion.

“His vision of medicine has always been ahead of the times and he has always emphasized to us, and to his patients, the importance of prevention and health education,” Dr. Villaneuva said. “His views of population management have turned out to be the future of medicine.”
With superior knowledge of pharmacology and therapeutics, Dr. Pogliano led multiple initiatives to design and successfully implement protocols such as pathways for pneumonia, sepsis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He helped to shape Aspirus’ formulary and always followed evidence-based guidelines.

By actively helping improve local health and health care, Dr. Pogliano showed a strong commitment to his hometown communities. After finishing medical school and residency, he returned to the Gogebic Range area and established a family practice clinic. The family practice clinic was the primary outpatient health care provider in the area for many years and eventually became today’s Aspirus Ironwood Clinic.

Over the years, he provided educational sessions in many areas including geriatrics, diabetes and hypertension. He is, and always will be, an active and involved member in the community. He’s been a member of Marty’s Goldenaires Drum and Bugle Corps, an integral part of the local culture.

“He is a true Yooper who is proud to carry on the traditions of this area, including maple syrup making and fly fishing,” Dr. Villaneuva said. “Dr. Pogliano exemplifies what a physician should be: patient-centered, committed to excellence, and a long-term learner with strong ties to the community.”

Jim Lorenson, vice-chair of the Aspirus Upper Peninsula Region Board of Directors, describes Dr. Pogliano as good-natured, compassionate and an excellent caregiver whose empathetic and humorous personality puts people at ease.

“His service was never a job; it was a vocation,” Lorenson said. “There is no doubt in my mind he made lives better, and what better a contribution to the Gogebic Range community. Through his participation in Aspirus system groups, he has brought the same dedication to the Aspirus system service region. People are healthier and live better through his vocation.”

Andrew Tait, PA-C, certified physician assistant and colleague of Dr. Pogliano’s for nearly 20 years said, “His humor and goofiness is one of the many qualities I enjoy about him. His deep sincerity and kindness to myself, staff and his patients is something I continue to strive for.”

“Dr. Pogliano is involved in so many facets of our community beyond his usual occupation, from being a pumpkin farmer, member of several charitable organizations, educator at our local college, and much, much more,” Tait said. “I know his transition from his vocation at Aspirus will be filled with other enjoyable activities that will keep him and [his wife] Candy busy every day. It’s in his nature.”

Paula Chermside, chief administrative officer for Aspirus Ironwood, said she’s had the very fortunate opportunity to work closely with Dr. Pogliano during the past eight years and experience his dedication to caring for people firsthand.

“His focus is on making sure people have the best care right here,” she said. “He has graciously shared his time and presence with those who needed him and successfully engaged others in his vision to keep health care services at their best. He will be missed; however, his vision will be carried on due to his leadership and efforts to align us with a health system that will be here for us for years to come.”